When Abortion Became Real

This post is written by Brenda Marin, originally posted on her blog–much of which details our journey of infertility.

Another hot button issue in our country is of course abortion. I must admit that I am in most accounts Pro-life and always have been. My faith and my moral framework have shaped this as a choice for me. I however, do understand that there are times when very serious decisions need to be made with regards to the health of the mother, the baby, the way in which the pregnancy has been conceived and those decisions should be made and left up to the woman, the mother, and perhaps in conjunction with her partner, husband, boyfriend, one night stand, etc.

However, in our journey to conceive and in this new chapter of considering adoption, abortion becomes much more real and close to my heart. My husband and I understand that in order for us to be a mommy and a daddy we are asking for a women to be courageous enough to face the cruelty of this world, the stares, the questions, and the talking behind her back and than make the ultimate sacrifice of unconditional love by giving Andrew and I her baby to raise and to love. In the pain of our infertility journey I couldn’t imagine the anguish that a woman must go through in making the choice of adoption for her child, and this is the journey that Andrew and I are on if we are to have a family.

A few weeks ago in a very bizarre and round about way Andrew and I were made aware of a single women in her early forties who found out she was pregnant. We came to find out through a family member that she is an incredibly successful woman and has dedicated her life to building her career and completing higher levels of education. In all ways she should be celebrated in her accomplishments and commended in her success; we as women know that climbing the corporate ladder can be quite difficult and in many cases much harder. I am not in anyway taking away from her success or her choices in remaining single and making the life choices which were best for her within her goals. In fact, I am a champion of celebrating the diversity of women and the choices we are able to make which hopefully fulfill and enhance our life experiences. Of course being a Christian, I am hoping that within these choices is the calling a woman feels upon her life.

Which, takes us back to the story. Andrew and I learned that this woman had scheduled an abortion appointment and canceled; then scheduled a second and canceled it again. I don’t know what or who was influencing her to cancel these appointments; she just did. This is where Andrew and I learned of her and her pregnancy. We were given a phone number and we made a call to one of her family members. We both had no idea how the person on the other end was going to react as this was a really uncomfortable and incredibly emotional phone call to make… “Um, hi we heard that one of your family members is pregnant and we were given you number and we want to share our story and see if your family member would be willing to adopt her baby to us…” Yeah, it was pretty much that crazy and that vulnerable.

The woman on the other end listened to our story and cried with us as we shared our journey and our desire to be parents. She listened as we described our deep understanding that our “normal” was going to be a bit different than other peoples normal. That our family structure was going to look a bit different than other family structures. We also understood and do understand as best we can the incredible gift and sacrifice we are asking of her family member and that we would honor her in the amount of involvement she and they would want to have in the community which would love and raise this little baby.

In the course of the conversation we learned a bit more about the family member who was pregnant. She was in her early forties and successful. She never wanted to have children and that this pregnancy was completely unplanned and a total shock and surprise. *Although, PSA–If you do the deed between a man and a woman the possibility is always there no matter how much precaution you take*

We learned that this woman set an abortion appointment right away, but for some reason decided to cancel it. She than researched about pregnancy in your early forties and found out about all the enhanced risk that a woman and a baby may face so she set an OBGYN appointment to check on the viability and health of the baby. She did all the tests including those that carry their own high risk and it came back that she was carrying a healthy baby girl. The woman on the phone, the pregnant woman’s family member, indicated that this was potentially a way to help make the abortion decision easier, but it turned out possibly to make it more difficult as she learned she was carrying a healthy baby girl. The woman again made an appointment for an abortion and canceled. The woman on the phone said that adoption had been discussed with the pregnant woman, but she was adamant about not wanting to do an adoption because she felt very strongly about not being able to carry a baby for nine months and then give it away. Even though according to the family member on the phone she repeatedly said she didn’t want the baby, children or have an abortion.

The family member on the phone asked if we would write our story and send her an email with some pictures. Andrew and I agreed and we sat on a Sunday evening and wrote out our story. It took us some time as we needed time to process our emotions, to cry a bit, to be angry a bit, and to hope a bit. We wanted to make sure we told the woman, who was pregnant, that we understood that what we are asking of her is unfair and would require courage and sacrifice. We also wanted to make sure that no matter her decision she was still valued.

We sent the letter, our story, our hopes, our dreams, and our desires to be a mommy and a daddy to this stranger who was hopefully going to have a moment to share it with her pregnant family member. We carefully chose pictures hoping they showed that we were fun, adventurous, but also cautious. Pictures that hopefully represented who we were and the potential life this little baby girl could have with Andrew and I. When the send button was pushed I felt numb… I still feel numb…

We haven’t heard anything from either women. We don’t know if the abortion took place, if there has been any opportunity to share our story, but I still hope…

My prayers have sounded a bit like this:

Lord, please be with this woman as she must on her own make this incredibly difficult decision. Please surround her with people who will give her support no matter what. Lord, you know the desire of my heart, that I would love to be blessed with this little baby girl. That Andrew and I would love her with all of hearts and every bit of our being. Lord, please protect this little girl. Let her continue to grow strong. Lord, if this woman does choose to abort this little girl, I pray that you rejoice as you welcome a new angel into your kingdom. Lord, protect my heart as I want so badly to hope for the most unlikely possibility. Let me remain realistic and let my prayers reflect that as well. Lord, please be with this woman no matter the choice. If she chooses to continue with this pregnancy, Lord please give her courage, if she chooses to terminate this pregnancy please Lord, give her peace. Lord, I pray that you give the family member an opportunity to share our story with this woman, that she reads our story and gives us an opportunity to share it with her. My heart is broken and I do desire to be a mommy and would love to be the mommy to this little girl.

Adoption is an unimaginable set of circumstances which require very different people to make very courageous choices. My adoption journey is just beginning and I am trying to prepare my heart and myself for the journey ahead. I know I will make an incredible mommy one day and will adore, treasure, love and cherish the woman that blesses me with that opportunity.

**Update May 9, 2013: Brenda and I received an email that the woman carrying the baby decided to terminate the pregnancy at five months along. As Brenda wrote on her Facebook: 

Jesus welcomed another beautiful baby girl angel into Heaven. About a half hour ago Andrew and I received an email from the family of the woman whom I wrote about in my post who was pregnant. She chose to terminate the pregnancy. My heart is broken and wished I could have shared my story with this woman. I pray that Jesus brings her comfort and peace that her family surrounds her and continues to surround her forever. Much love.

www.themarinfoundation.org

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About Andrew Marin

Andrew Marin is President and Founder of The Marin Foundation (www.themarinfoundation.org). He is author of the award winning book Love Is an Orientation (2009), its interactive DVD curriculum (2011), and recently an academic ebook titled Our Last Option: How a New Approach to Civility can Save the Public Square (2013). Andrew is a regular contributor to a variety of media outlets and frequently lectures at universities around the world. Since 2010 Andrew has been asked by the United Nations to advise their various agencies on issues of bridging opposing worldviews, civic engagement, and theological aspects of reconciliation. For twelve years he lived in the LGBT Boystown neighborhood of Chicago, and is currently based St. Andrews, Scotland, where he is teaching and researching at the University of St. Andrews earning his PhD in Constructive Theology with a focus on the Theology of Culture. Andrew's research centers on the cultural, political, and religious dynamics of reconciliation. Andrew is married to Brenda, and you can find him elsewhere on Twitter (@Andrew_Marin), Facebook (AndrewMarin01), and Instagram (@andrewmarin1).

  • Paula

    Fine. But sometimes its necessary to remind ourselves that “its not all about us.” That public policy should not be crafted on just our story, our need. You want a baby. Understood. This woman might be willing to let you adopt her child — Fine. Lovely.

    But please don’t tell me this story gives you a particular perspective on what any other woman shouldering an unwanted pregnancy can or should do. There are morally grounded stories on the other side as well — we just don’t hear them much because women are shamed out of telling them. Women who adopt are valorized, women who carry a child to be adopted are valorized. But women who cannot afford to lose a job which supports their other children, if they choose abortion –are not valorized. (And really, not every woman can stand on her feet all day when pregnant, and yes, they can be fired. Downsized. Put on disability at lesser pay — long story short, the consequences can be dire for that woman. And that is merely one possible scenario.

    As with gay people — we need more stories. We need to read the prayers of the women who chose abortion. We need to know that the woman next to us on the bus had an abortion, the woman who teachs first grade, the woman who sits next to us in church — they had abortions too. Because without those stories we judge theoretical possibilities that are not the same as real life circumstances. Or we glom onto stories like this that tug on our heartstrings. But they are not the full picture. Sometimes, its just not about us.

  • Sara

    I’m so sorry for this heartbreaking loss, on an already painful journey. I will be sure to keep you and Brenda in my prayers.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/loveisanorientation Andrew Marin

      Thank you very much Sara.

  • Melissa

    So sorry to hear about this. In everything you all do, you exhibit Christ by taking on the hurts and wounds of other people, as well as your own and I pray that in these moments you are surrounded with people who will return the favor that you have extended to so many people. I pray that the amount of love you receive is overwhelming and drowns out those who criticize you in your vulnerability. And I pray for strength as you continue to show love and value to this woman and many others. The world needs more people like you. Peace and love to you all.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/loveisanorientation Andrew Marin

      Melissa – That really means a lot. Seriously. Much love.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/loveisanorientation Andrew Marin

    Paula – I don’t feel this post communicates anything close to what you suggested when you said: “But please don’t tell me this story gives you a particular perspective on what any other woman shouldering an unwanted pregnancy can or should do.” In fact, I think Brenda was very gracious, especially in the update posted today, on loving the woman who decided to terminate the pregnancy. This however, doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. But sadness does not equate judgement.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jmartinsnuok John Martin

    I am praying for God’s will for you, Brenda and Andrew. My wife & I experienced infertility following the birth of our daughter, who would ultimately become our only child. I understand those emotions completely! On the outside chance that God might use it in your life, I want you to know about Deaconess Pregnancy & Adoption Services in Oklahoma, http://www.deaconessadoption.org. It is a 112 year old Christian agency all about helping women make adoption plans and creating new adoptive families. Check them out!

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/loveisanorientation Andrew Marin

      Thank you for that John. We will be sure to look into it!

  • Jonathan

    Certainly we need more stories, from all sides and all perspectives, to make better sense of all the complexities, injustices, and difficult decisions that this issue entails. Oversimplifying the issues of patriarchy, women’s rights, poverty, race, medicine, and religious fanaticism bound up in abortion does no one any good. We need those stories you describe to understand all that.

    And in the same way, don’t we also need the over 50 million stories that were never lived, and will never be told?


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